You know what’s good? Soda. You know what else is good? Beliefs. Causes. Movements.
Pepsi has married these generic concepts with a new advertisement out Tuesday featuring Kendall Jenner and Skip Marley’s “Lions.” The ad contains images of protesters. People standing up for things. What are those things? Is Kendall proclaiming #BlackLivesMatter? Is this the Resistance? Unclear! But drink Pepsi!
Here’s a second-by-second breakdown of this ad, which for some reason clocks in just above two minutes:
0:03: We first see our cello player, just strumming away on a helipad, which is personally my favorite spot to cello-out. He quickly transports indoors, where it’s dark and the air-circulation is apparently lacking. He becomes very sweaty.
0:08: Meanwhile, young attractive people are out in the streets. They’re here. They’re sincere. And they have perplexing signs with additional vowels.
0:15: Say hello to our resident Muslim Woman Wearing Hijab (super topical, right?). She’s working with some arts and crafts and drinking Pepsi, but boy, she is not so pleased.
0:23: SOUND THE KENDALL ALARM! WE HAVE KENDALL JENNER ON THE PREMISES! Here, we meet Kendall at work, posing seductively in a roll of tin foil not drinking Pepsi and totally oblivious to all of the Important Things happening around her. But don’t worry, sweet ones. This ad presents a story arc that shows Kendall undergoing a transformation — LITERALLY AND FIGURATIVELY HA HA HA.
0:47: What’s that noise? Why it’s the commotion of our diverse crowd of street marchers holding provocative peace and heart symbol signs. This intrigues our dear cellist, who has apparently turned on a lamp and taken a shower. I must join them, he decides, and I must bring my cello, for without music, I am nothing. (I’m projecting).
0:49: In the midst of all these people standing up for Important Things, there are still ladies out here brunching. Ladies love brunch, what can I say! Don’t you women know that protest is the new brunch? WAKE UP SHEEPLE. (Although it’s cool, they’re drinking Pepsi so they’re a part of it in their own special way.)
0:55: Let’s check back in with our Muslim Woman in Hijab. She’s still toiling away by herself and becoming increasingly frustrated with the progress of her arts and crafts project, so much so that we actually HEAR THIS LADY ROAR. Until she discovers… She is not alone.
1:13: Okay just in case you thought this wasn’t a legit cool young people thing (it has been awhile since we’ve seen Kendall), we have the requisite soda commercial breakdancers on the premises. They’re here to pop, lock and disabuse you of any such illusions.
1:18: Seriously dude, how did you get so sweaty earlier and when did you have time to shower?
1:34: It’s a good thing our friend here took that shower because with a simple head nod he is able to convince Kendall to walk off the job. Classic move, bro. If Hollywood doesn’t greenlight a romcom based entirely on this head nod, I will, as soon as I have the power to greenlight romcoms.
1:38: Kendall is a changed woman. She wipes off that oppressive dark lipstick, removes that oppressive blonde wig (y’all, it was a wig the whole time! Can you believe it?) and is ready to party — I mean protest!
1:43: Uh-oh, it’s the police. So topical.
1:51: Kendall’s chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool. She’s drinking Pepsi (one of us, one of us) and sporting an all-denim getup, not her previously oppressive tin foil garment.
2:05: Oooooh boy. I’ve been watching this for more than two minutes. Also, the police are all standing there like, just watching with stern faces. They are not holding signs, they are not breakdancing and in case you didn’t think I noticed, they are not drinking Pepsi. But.. what’s that? It’s Kendall. And Kendall knows how to solve this intractable sociopolitical crisis.
2:09: Did anyone catch that incredible moment?!?!? Oh, duh, the Muslim Woman in Hijab who has been heartened by Kendall’s act of bravery.
2:12: An officer takes a sip of Pepsi and OH MY GOD THE COPS DRANK PEPSI! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!? WE WON! WE WON! THEY FINALLY AGREED TO GIVE PEPSI A TRY!
This all ends with an exhortation to “live bolder, live louder, live for now.” And nothing has inspired me to do that quite like this ad.
This post, originally published April 4, has been updated.